College Unbound: Tell me about your project.
Adam Foldi: My project’s goal is to provide communities within Providence with nutrition education through a cooking class. The classes would focus on participants learning to make something they have never made before or taking old, known recipes and making them healthier. The basis of the project is to teach people to make healthy meals that are also affordable, fast, and easy. I want people with busy lives to also be able to eat healthily.
CU: Home food delivery services like Blue Apron and HelloFresh have risen in popularity in recent years. How does your project compare to those services?
AF: In the long-term, I would like to emulate those services and bring fast, affordable, and healthy meals to people’s homes. But those services are very cost-restrictive. People on a budget cannot really afford to spend $30 on one meal for their families. My project is different because it’s about giving people the skills they need to put together a great, delicious, healthy meal without breaking the bank.
CU: One of the main components of your project is an in-person cooking class. How does that personal touch benefit your potential clientele?
AF: I realized quickly that you shouldn’t just tell people what they should be eating. They either won’t be into it or they will try it and it won’t come out well and they will lose confidence in their cooking skills. The menu options should be personalized to fit their needs and what they like to eat. With an in-person cooking class, I get to ask what they cook at home or what they grew up eating and then work with them to custom-design a healthier way to create that type of food. Food is really social and I like the idea of cultivating that social aspect to cooking.
CU: When was the last time your project inspired you, or humbled you?
AF: This semester, I have been doing independent study with motivation from [CU Provost ] Adam Bush. I was in Texas for a meeting with the Sustainable Food Center down there. During the meeting, I learned about the food outreach and access programs they are doing. They run the Happy Kitchen, a program that’s very similar to my project. They provide culinary education for people in their local community. I also got a chance to talk to a woman who participated in the Happy Kitchen program. She shared some photos from the class and I got to hear stories from people who had benefited from this type of program and it really inspired me to get my project up and running in Providence.
CU: How did you come to College Unbound (CU) and what effects have you seen in your life as a result of being at CU?
AF: I started my college journey at UMass Dartmouth but after about two years, I realized I really didn’t like it. I didn’t thrive in that learning environment, I couldn’t sit still for four hours, and I wasn’t very interested in what they wanted me to learn. I left, figuring college wasn’t right for me, and took a few years off. I lived in a few different states then decided to move to Providence because my friends made it sound like such a great place. After hanging out in the city for about a year, a family friend of mine told me about CU. So I attended one of CU’s Open Houses and the rest is history. I’m in my third year and so happy to be graduating in the Spring. I thought that college wasn’t for me, that I would be limited by not having a degree but I see that that’s not the case. I like the idea of not being limited by not having a degree.
CU: In the spirit of giving back and using your voice to help others, who would you like to spotlight for helping you and your project thus far?
AF: My cohort-mates, all of them, have really contributed to the growth of my project so I want to highlight them all!
CU: What is the next step in your project?
AF: The next step is to actually hold a cooking class. First, I have to research if there are any opportunities to receive state, federal, or private funding for nutritional education. I have access to hold space for the class, but just need financial assistance to get ingredients and the culinary talent to teach the class.